Civil rights organisation AfriForum says it is with joy that it takes note of the intention of the SAPS to utilise reservists to combat crime in rural and remote areas.
Meanwhile a teenager from Lesotho arrested in connection with the murder of Bonnievale vintner Tool Wessels made a brief appearance in court on Thursday and was remanded.
Identified as a N Tlale, he faces one charge of murder. Wessels, 55, was found dead at his farm on Monday night. His severely injured wife Liezel, 51, managed to escape a group of four attackers in a desperate bid to seek help. She was stabbed and had boiling water repeatedly poured over her in a bid to get cash from the couple.
In December Piet and Elmien Steyn, both in their 70s, were shot dead while they slept, and their property was raided, while a vehicle belonging to them was stolen near Bonnievale.
AfriForum has for the past two years campaigned to force the SAPS to use reservists as additional manpower. An application by AfriForum against various role-players in the SAPS was heard in the North Gauteng High Court on 3 April 2019. An injunction was obtained against the SAPS to send the affected reservists for the necessary training to allow them to be added in the pool of useable members to help combat crime.
The SAPS has to date either refused or dragged their feet to present training for reservists, as well as to send existing officials for retraining. This led to the fact that the reservists aren’t able to properly assist the SAPS, seeing as according to legislation they are not competent to use firearms, amongst others.
Due to the police’s hesitation and refusal, the amount of police reservists decreased with 80% between 2010 and 2018 and approximately 60 000 members were lost for service to the community.
“It seems as though the SAPS is possibly lending an ear to AfriForum’s pleas to make use of existing resources, among which the reservists, to support its crime combating attempts. It is however regrettable that drastic steps had to be taken by the court to bring home this realisation,” says Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety.
“AfriForum is being swamped with requests from affected reservists and community policing forums across the country to be of assistance to them with similar applications. Reservists deliver services without being compensated for it. The only thing that these people want is to be able to deliver a service to the community,” says Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum’s Legal and Risk Manager for Community Safety.